North American Open Cup - Third Qualifying Round Draw
Some teams are added this round and there's 136 teams left. We really, really luck out here. We draw the Fredericton Fury, and we're at home again. Fredericton are in the St Lawrence Soccer League, another Amateur league in the same tier as us.
This is a huge match, as this next game is worth $110,000 or so for a win.
-- Our match with Fredericton is on the 27th, and we've got another league match in between. We're going to end up playing 9 matches in the 30 days of May.
May 23rd, 2015
Nashville Soul (0-0-4, 16th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (3-0-1, 3rd)
-- We played them twice last year and won both times. This is the only team left in the APL without a win, and they don't even have a point.
Obviously we have to replace everyone today. DM Adalberto Vega gets his first appearance in the senior squad. I up us from defensive to standard mindset against such a poor opponent.
1': Their ST Griffiths gets a yellow card 16 seconds into the match.
25': First highlight is a corner that we don't do anything with.
34': Pace with a cross in from the right for Crook, he has a volly from the penalty spot, a clear cut chance, but awful and wide.
37': They get their first look, a dangerous shot from a streaking right midfielder, but he puts it wide.
HALF: We shoot 4 times, they shoot 1. All off target. Pretty ugly half. Lets attack, guys.
49': Varela a yellow for a foul literally inches outside the penalty area. They take the free kick and it hits the right post and bounces in. 0-1
70': Pace with a weak shot saved by the keeper. First highlight in awhile.
74': A shot from 20 yards out from midfielder North its placed perfectly and into the top corner of the goal. 0-2
74': Wilkins in for Sandoval, Reynoso in for Pace.
80': They get a clear cut chance after a cross finds its mark in the 6 yard box, but Gyan stops it.
85': Another breakaway for Nashville and clear cut chance, saved. and we clear out the corner.
We played really terribly in the second half.
Nashville 2 : 0 Wake Forest
I tell the team they sucked, even if it wasn't the first team, ugly.
6.2 from Diaz, 6.3 from Rose and Pace.
That drops us to 6th.
-- Coggins and Jackson both resume full training. Roth is about ready to go too. A run like this would be a lot easier with those guys on the field instead of some of these 14 year olds and guys who just don't seem to produce.
May 27th, 2015
North American Open Cup - Third Qualifying Round Draw
Wake Forest Cougars vs Fredericton Fury
Back to a lineup I'm confidant can do good things.
5': They have a set piece deep in the right corner, a cross into the area, and a shot is blocked and Gyan picks up the loose ball.
12': Navarro has it 35 yards out to start the highlight, he sends it left for Davidson, a cross.. Navarro with a solid header, keeper has to dive to stop it. There's a rebound and Cooper is first to it and he buries it! 1-0
28': Following a lot of buildup down the right side, there is a strong cross and very strong shot by their striker, Gyan dives left and pushes it away.
39': Williams with a yellow.
HALF: Its quite even really, 5 shots for them, 3 for us, possession is 53/47 in our favor. I bring Villa in for Williams at the half as its pointed out that Williams is making an awful lot of mistakes today.
68': First highight of the half is a free kick from Tapia, Galvis heads it weakly forward, Navarro heads it in but he had made a run on the free kick and was offsides behind the defense.
75': One of their midfielders had picked up a yellow earlier that I didn't note... he just got a second one and we're up a man!
81': Three highlights in a row of long/poor shots from Fredericton.
82': Glaser in for Shakespeare, Varela in for Galvis.
85': I tell the team to make shorter passes, drop deeper, and play at a lower tempo.
87': Gyan comes out after a long ball ahead and he fumbles it... it falls to one of their strikers who puts it into the now empty net. 1-1
87': Take away all those orders I just gave, and attack.
89': Glaser ahead to Navarro, he finds Tapia in the area, a shot from 15 yards out, and its a goal!!! 2-1
That'll do it!
Wake Forest 2 : 1 Fredericton
I'm so happy we got to end that in 90 minutes.
Man of the Match: Jose Alejandro Tapia (7.6)
Goals: Tapia, Cooper (7.2)
Assists: Navarro (7.5)
Pickering struggled again with a 6.4 rating.
-- We receive $114,000 for the victory. This is the round we lost in last year. That one match will guarentee us a massive, massive profit on the year. How that relates to speeding up semi-pro status I don't know, but it seems important.
Good run so far.
Just wanted to thank you for alerting me to the Level 8 USA file. I started a save with the Honolulu Islanders over the weekend and I am enjoying every minute of it. In fact, it's taking me all my power not to start my own dynasty thread here. I just don't have the time to make it detailed like yours and the others here. If I did do it, it would be quite barebones. But I'm having fun nonetheless.
-- That win leaves us with a balance of $455,043 in the bank.
North American Open Cup - First Round Draw
128 teams remain, so its a straight 7 round tournament from here. MLS and NASL and USL teams are all in play.
We're stuck on the road here, against IMG Bradenton Academies. They're in Atlantic Coast Division 2. That's where we aim to be if we promote two years in a row. We did beat a team from that tier last round, so given all the top flight teams this is still a really good draw, but this is going to be a crazy tough matchup.
We'll play them on June 10th. There is actually a break in June for some reason, we would have had a full month off according to the schedule if it weren't for the open cup and the Old North Cup. Maybe the Amateur Cup starts in June too. Its still a brutal schedule until after that match on the 10th.
May 30th, 2015
Wake Forest Cougars (3-0-2, 6th) vs Peoria Steamers (4-0-1, 3rd)
-- Peoria are only 3rd b/c other teams have more matches played. They were first with everyone on equal ground
Burke starts over Pickering b/c Pickering has had a couple weaker matches. Roth is back from injury. Cooper and Shakespeare are simply fit enough to play and are consistetly better than other options.
Both of Peoria's strikers in their 4-4-2 have been scoring quite a bit. This could be tough.
4': They have a corner kick, kicked to the edge of the penalty box, headed forward, and then headed in. Ugh. 0-1
8': We earn a corner off a cooper cross, corner is cleared.
22': Shakespeare loses the ball to a tackle in midfield, they pass it ahead quickly and get a shot off, but its off target.
25': Up to a standard mindset from our defensive one.
37': Throwin in their end, after a couple passes Shakespeare gets it into the area for Roth, he makes a cut to the goal, and he's tackled, penalty! Shakespeare takes it and scores. 1-1
46': Another throwin in the offensive end, on the right side, we work it around a bit and rotate to the left side, Rose with a run and a cross, Shakespeare is there and puts it in with his left foot! 2-1
HALF: Quite the comeback. They outshoot us 4-3, every on target shot has been a goal. We dominated possession throughout the half but it wasn't until we pulled out of our defensive shell that we generated anything at all.
49': Campbell clears a ball to Galser near midfield, a ball ahead to Roth, he's about 35 yards out and makes a great run on his own, but he tries a cute chip shot when the keeper didn't really leave his line yet. Easy save.
62': Rose tries a cross, they head it out, but we retain possession, passed back ahead to Rose again, he sprints into the area and is tackled. Penalty #2! Shakespeare is gonna take this one too and he has a hat trick. 3-1
69': Perkins in for Glaser, Crook in for Cooper.
74': Shakespeare starts the offense with an interception, ahead to Crook, to Roth, and back to a breaking Shakespeare, from about 30 yards out he lobs it over to the left side for Rose, Rose shoots and its in! 4-1
81': Jackson decides that Peoria deserves to score from the penalty spot too, a bad tackle in the area, and they do convert the penalty. 4-2
83': Horrible play by Peoria, a throwin in their own defensive end, they throw it towards the penalty area, and Roth intercepts the throwin, shoots and scores. 5-2
Wake Forest 5 : 2 Peoria
Man of the Match: Mark Shakespeare (9.6)
Goals: Shakespeare 3, Rose (8.4), Roth (8.7)
Assists: Rose 2, Roth, Shakespeare
Notables: Villa (7.2)
6.8/6.9 ratings from all of the defense.
A good win to break our 2 game losing streak in league play.
6 out of the 15 games before the split complete, and we sit in 6th. We've already played, and beaten, three teams above us. That should be good news in theory, but the reality is that we seem to struggle like hell against some of the worst teams.
Awesome! I'm glad you're enjoying it.
-- Campbell/Coggins/DC Ashley Varela all train well. Pace/Burke/Villa all struggle.
-- The board is very pleased with my leadership, locker room atmosphere still the #1 reason, and our 0-2 loss to bottom feeders Nashville is the negative. We made a ridiculous $166,000 last month.
June 2nd, 2015
Owensboro Cookers (4-1-1, 3rd) vs Wake Forest Cougars (4-0-2, 6th)
We only played them once last year, we beat them.
100% turnover here outside of the GK.
9': Pickering gets a yellow.
21': Their ST Cuevas gets a yellow.
23': Williams a yellow. He'll get suspended a game for that.
33': We see our first highlight, a free kick saved.
40': Navarro gets a yellow for diving.
42': Bob Varela picks up a minor injury.
HALF: Uh yeah. So 4 yellows, one highlight, and we're in the locker room. I bring Perkins in for Sandoval. That attacking MC spot seems pretty crucial and I'm hoping Perkins has a better chance to make something happen there.
49': We hold possession for a long while, Varela tries to lob it forward to Navarro, Navarro actually misses it.. or lets it go? and Davidson making a run in from the left gets to it, fires a shot, but it hits the post.
55': Great play by Davidson to make a run into the area and evade the defense. Instead of shooting though he lays it off for Perkins, shot is blocked. We earn a corner but they clear.
60': defender Beckham with a yellow for them.
68': They get a goal from 20 yards out on a nice shot by ST Briceno. We had been dominating the half too.
76': Davidson intercepts a pass in our defensive half to win possession, we slowly but surely build up down the left side, lots of short passes. Finally, Perkins passes to Navarro, he's just outside the area and fairly far left of center, he cuts by his man and gets a pretty solid look, and buries it! 1-1
87': Pace in for Navarro, Glaser in for Tapia
93': One last free kick before its over, Davidson fires a poor cross through the area though, no danger.
We'll take a road draw here.
Owensboro 1 : 1 Wake Forest
Their goal scorer is man of the match.
Goal: Navarro (7.1)
Assist: Perkins (6.8)
Notable: Williams (7.0)
Galvis and Pickering both with 6.4 ratings in the back.
-- We move up 1 spot to 5th with the point we got today.
DR Bob Varela pulls a hamstring and is out 5-6 weeks. Youth pull fausto Diaz will back up Jackson now.
-- Brian Williams and Ronnie Navarro both picked up their 2nd yellow today, both will miss our next match.
Luckily its in 3 days and they both would have rested anyway.
North America Amateur Cup Qualifying Round Draw
160 teams in this round. We continue a trend started last year by drawing a home match against a team from California. We'll play the Long Beach Internationals. They're in our tier. We'll play on the 24th of June, which still keeps the 2nd half of june reasonable looking as far as the schedule goes with a full month off of league play.
June 5th, 2015
Wake Forest Cougars (4-1-2, 6th) vs Jackson Red Shirts (1-3-3, 13th)
We've played them twice, going 1-1. We're heavy 2:5 favorites, so I'm worried.
We play our NA Open cup match in 5 days, so I want Shakespeare and Cooper fully fit for that. I go with Patrick Ratzburg up front, our young signing who is just back to fitness after a long injury. Standard mindset from the start.
16': Ratzburg to Crook for our first highlight, Crook is way off though.
31': We win a goal kick and its passed to Ratzburg about 35 yards out, he lobs it ahead to Sandoval, he's behind the defense and has a clear cut chance... and just puts it wide. I relaly don't like Sandoval.
38': Rose with a long run by himself into the penalty area, looks like he was looking for a cross but then found a way to cut by his man, he gets a clear cut chance from the left side, but its right at the keeper.
42': Bergmann is hurt and forced to leave the match immediately. Burke comes in for him. He can play DL acceptably, though he's definitely better in the middle.
HALF: We outshoot them 5-0, control possession, get 2 clear cut chances... and its scoreless at the half.
49': Free kick near midfield, we take it short and work our offense, Sandoval ahead to Glaser, he puts a ball into the area for Ratzburg, its a little awkward as he has to go right and shoot back to his left, but he does it well and makes the shot! 1-0
68': Rose with a corner, Crook blasts a shot, but right at the keeper.
78': Throwin deep in the offensive end, Ratzburg passes to the end line to Crook, he puts a perfect pass on the ground to the penalty spot, Glaser blasts it, clear cut chance, no way you can miss this.. but its right at the keeper.
79': Perkins in for Glaser, Reynoso in for Rose.
83': Lets defend this one out.
We hang on to win this one!
Wake Forest 1 : 0 Jackson
Man of the Match: Patrick Ratzburg (7.4)
Assist: Glaser (7.0)
Everyone else is 6.6-6.9.
Not a great job against a much weaker opponent, but get the 3 points and I am not going to complain much.
We're up to 3rd with that win, but still only 4 points ahead of 8th. There's a long way to go to wrap up a spot in the top half (er, top 7/16th?) of the split.
Enough of league talk though, we don't play a league match for a month. Its Cup time.
-- Rumors begin again about a consortium possibly taking over Wake Forest.
June 10th, 2015
North American Open Cup - First Round
IMG Bradenton Academy vs Wake Forest Cougars
19': First highlight of the match, they take a free kick and miss a shot badly.
21': Williams loses the ball in midfield, there is one long ball ahead for ST Gonzalez, he gets behind the defense, gets a clear cut chance and finishes cleanly. 0-1
24': We have a throwin in their end, we have like 5 men in the box for what seems like forever, lots of short passing, finally Tapia finds Campbell on a run down the middle unmarked, he shoots and its good! 1-1
28': Davidson ahead to Shakespeare, a defender comes in and slide tackles it away, but it goes backwards towards their goal, right to Navarro, who gets to the ball and finishes strong! 2-1
40': Navarro receives a pass 25 yards out, ahead to Cooper, he's tackled in the area... but no foul.
HALF: They shoot 5 times to our 4, its all pretty damn even. 3 clear cut chances, 3 goals. We are better in the air, 69% of our headers won to just 47% for them. That' the only distinguishing factor right now.
46': They launch a shot from 25 yards, way high.
64': Solid defending, we win lots of headers to keep them from building an attack and eventualy intercept a pass nicely to clear. No threat.
68': Davidson with a nice ball into the area for Shakespeare, he controls it off his chest but not well enough to shoot, its tackled away, Davidson runs up to the loose ball and shoots, but wide.
83': Burke in for Galvis.
86': Navarro picks up a minor injury.
90': Glaser in for Tapia
92': We allow a long run by their left midfielder into the penalty area, but instead of holding it up and trying a cross he shoots from a really awkward angle, and misses.
93': Just a minute or so left, we allow a corner, but Campbell makes the clearance.
That's it! We're Rich!
IMG Bradenton 1 : 2 Wake Forest
Their goalscorer is man of the match.
Goals: Campbell (7.4), Navarro (7.1)
Assists: Tapia (6.9), Davidson (7.2)
Joe Jackson with a 6.4, everyone else in the high 6's.
-- We receive a crazy $228,000 for this victory. More than doubles our profits on the year so far.
Navarro hurt his toe and will miss 9-12 days. He'll miss the Old North Cup match, not a big concern.
Here's our first goal, I'm real pleased with our patience and passing.
North American Open Cup - Second Round
64 teams left. The odds start to get pretty decent at this point that we play an MLS team.
We get about as good a draw as we could hope for really. We host the St Louis Lions, a team from the USL Pro West. That's the 4th tier here, so that's waaaay above us. (MLS > NASL > USL > USL 2) USL 2 is USL East and USL West.
-- Unfortunately, this match is on the 17th, which causes our Old North Cup match to be re-arranged, and this is going to be our next match, which means Navarro will miss it.
Old North Cup - Semifinal Draw
If we were to somehow beat Wilmington in our next match, we'd play the winner of North Meck SC and the Carolina Railhawks in the semis. We'd get it at home. The RailHawks promoted out of USL up to the NASL last year and are actually 8th there right now, so they are right on the edge of making the playoffs with a chance to enter MLS.
Youth DC Jesus Antonio Guerrero tore an ACL and is out for 10-12 months. He very briefly hit the bottom of our depth chart when we had a couple injuries, but its unlikely he would play for us, probably ever, given our lack of ability to develop players.
-- A few days later, Pierre Reynoso got food poisoning, he's out a week.
June 17th, 2015
North American Open Cup - Second Round
Wake Forest Cougars vs St Louis Lions
St Louis are 1:10 favorites.
Oh crap I forgot, this was the st Louis team we played a friendly against earlier this year. We won that match. WE GOT THIS GUYS.
Rose is in over Davidson, Roth for the injured Navarro. I tell the team to play a slower match, and for the defense to play a little deeper than normal.
27': First highlight of the match, Gyan saves a free kick.
33': Keller for St Louis with a yellow.
40': Long shot from St Louis, wide.
HALF: Boring, but good for us I think. They shoot 3 times to our 2, neither of ours were worthy of highlights at all.
47': Yellow for midfielder Cruz for St Louis, that was after Rose made really nice 1v1 tackle to win the ball for us.
48': Cooper is tackled by their midfielder Keller, that's a yellow, his second, he's gone! We have a man advantage.
60': Cooper with a stunningly nice long ball from well behind midfield for Roth, Roth into the area, keeper comes out... Roth with a clear cut chance... hits the crossbar.
75': Yellow for Campbell
76': Yellow for Williams, that'll be another match missed.
FULL TIME: I'll take it, I'll take it. Each team with 4 shots, we have the only clear cut chance of the match. Glaser in for Tapia.
96': Throwin for us near midfield, Shakespeare sends it to the left for Rose, he's got some space, he makes a run and sends a cross to Roth. Roth runs to the left side of the 6 yard box while controlling it, fires a shot, the keeper dives for it and saves it, it falls right back to Roth though, he shoots and puts it in!!!!!!!! 1-0
101': Cooper with an interception in midfield, he makes a long run all on his own, deep to the corner, crosses, its headed away, Shakespeare gets to it and shoots from 20 yards out... hits the crossbar and over.
102': Davidson in for Rose, Burke in for Pickering.
104': Another one of those mis-hit crosses that goes right at the keeper, Gyan tries to punch it away, but it goes straight up basically, comes down and we have like 4 players there, I gues they fall over each other in an effort to clear, and it goes in, credited as an own goal for Gyan. SOOOOOOOOOOOO sad. 1-1
105': We move foward after kickoff, building up possession, Shakespeare puts a through ball ahead to Cooper, he's got a great look, but the keeper dives and saves. Its a corner. They clear.
EXTRA TIME HT: That own goal, oh god. We're a man up, do we attack or just play for penalties? I don't know! I make no changes.
109': They get a cross to the 6 yard box, the very left edge though, tight angle, we block a shot behind for a corner. Gyan gets a save on the corner.
114': Galvis yellow.
118': Cooper with a corner, its to Burke at the near post, he's basically unmarked, clear cut chance... right at the keeper.
And that's it.
FULL TIME: We are going to penalties.
Both teams make their first 5 penalties.
After 8-8, Gyan steps up for us, he makes our 9th kick. Their next man steps up, kicks it low and to the right. Gyan dives the right way, SAVES IT.
WE'RE EVEN MORE RICH HOLY SHITBALLS.
Wake Forest (9) 1p : 1 (8) St Louis
One of their defenders is man of the match.
Goal: Roth (7.2)
Notables: Pickering (7.0), Shakespeare (7.0), Cooper (7.0)
-- We receive $456,000 for this win. We now have $1 million in the bank.
Roth's goal, surely an ESPN Top Play in a world where people care about 8 levels of soccer in the US.
This is actually not unprecedented. Last year the Hickory Heat from the bottom division upset a top team to advance an extra couple rounds.
Ah, how I wish I had your 9GB computer to render such 3D graphics...
Damn, you're raking in a lot of cheddar! That mod really pumped up the prize money in the Open Cup, didn't it?
Heh yeah. I have no idea how this will end up impacting our climb up the ladder. I'm not really looking to be the only semi-pro team in a full league of amateur teams, but once I reach a level where most other teams are starting to make the switch, it'll be nice to be able to do so easily ourselves.
DC Ashley Varela comes to talk to me about his playing time. I dunno if a 14 year old should really be saying shit, but he is someone that came in good enough that I wanted to play him some, and i haven't. I'll make sure to work him into the rotation.
North American Open Cup - Third Round Draw
32 teams left. We're going to be going on the road to Dallas to play FC Dallas. I think there's a chance our run might end here.
North America Amateur Cup - First Round Draw
If we win our qualifying round match against Long Beach, we'll play our second match against Limestone City.
June 20th, 2015
Old North Cup - Second Round
Wilmington Hammerheads vs Wake Forest Cougars
Wilmington are much, much bigger favorites than St Louis was. They are 1:33 to win, we are 50:1...
Shuffling things up on 3 days rest. I think everyone but Gyan was changed today.
I add instructions to drop the defense deeper and play slower.
1': Free kick from 25 yards out for them, Gyan gets the save.
2': We try to clear twice but cannot, finally they put a shot wide, 3 shots for them already.
11': They hit a free kick off the post and we clear, its a good counterattack... except their players are so much faster they easily make up the distance before we can do anything threatening.
20': Our first shot comes on a free kick by Varela. Its not close.
33': Throwin for them, they easily get it into the area, but we do nicely to block the shot. An offsides gives it back to us eventually.
HALF: They have only out-shot us 7-1, it may get much worse in the second half. They have only put 1 shot on target so far though.
47': And there it is, easy goal for Wilmington after some crisp passing. 0-1
54': A second goal on an easy cross and strong volley from 18 yards out. 0-2
57': A 3rd on a rebound goal after a first shot hit the post. 0-3
60': Pace in for Ratzburg.
88': Really pretty goal, a low driving ball came into the area from about 40 yards out and their left midfielder blasted it in off a bounce, that looked fairly difficult. 0-4
That'll do it.
Wilmington 4 : 0 Wake Forest
5.6 from Varela, 5.6 from bergmann, and 5.8 from Villa. Its ok though, this one was just going to go bad.
Youth MC Mike Wilkins is hurt in a U18 match and is going to miss 3 months.
Its taken awhile.
June 24th, 2015
North America Amateur Cup - Qualifying Round
Wake Forest vs Long Beach Internationals
-- Uh, oops. I was looking at the wrong screen and accidentally accepted the same lineup that I ran 4 days ago against Wilmington. To be fair, I was looking at my match schedule to see if I was going to care about this match at all. With the money we've made, I am going to prioritize the league over this cup.
Most of our team is still reasonably fit. Glaser and Cruz are going to have issues though.
23': First highlight shows one of them shooting well wide. Their color is white on an awful bright yellow so I can't see shit as far as the announcing.
37': Glaser with a pass attempt but its blocked and goes towards our goal, one of their strikers gets behind our defense and has a 1 on 1 with Gyan, the shot is on target, but Gyan does a great job to tip it wide.
HALF: That's all the highlights we see here.
64': A number of passes around the area for us, Davidson is able to get a pass to Glaser about 10 yards out, Glaser shoots and scores! 1-0
69': They get a great clear cut chance after an attacker burns Diaz badly to get space in the penalty area, and they even things up. 1-1
70': Crook with a minor injury.
73': Pace in for Crook, Sandoval in for Glaser.
76': Terrifying sequence where they have a corner, they get I believe 3 shots off in a super crowded 6 yard box, its like a bunch of 6 year olds just crowding around the ball trying to kick it. Finally Gyan falls on it.
82': Varela is hurt and forced to leave the match. Garry Garcia comes in for him.
90': We've been defending an awful lot here in quick highlights over the last 15 minutes. Here they lob a ball in from the right, our defenders get way out of position and a ball falls to their striker and he gets a clear cut chance and puts it in. 1-2
94': Pace gets two crosses into the area but they are just poor and cleared easily.
Wake Forest 1 : 2 Long Beach
Really shitty performance here today, though I can't get too upset since I screwed up the lineups, and I wasn't going to try all that hard in this tournament anyway, but still, so bad.
Goal: Glaser (7.3)
Assist: Davidson (6.7)
-- Ashley Varela is out for 2 weeks.
-- AMR Ryan Crook is out for 6-7 weeks. Cooper will now play absolutely every match he can. Our backups are Bo Thompson who has proven to be pretty awful, and youth pull Jeff Gallardo. Samir Pace can play AMR too and I could see going Navarro/Roth/Ratzburg at ST to let Pace play a little AMR. I'll try Gallardo but if he sucks Pace will take over as backup.
-- The USA wins the Gold Cup, beating Costa Rica 1:0, Fabian Johnson scored a goal in the 25th minute. Costa Rica beat Mexico and the US beat El Salvador in the semifinals.
June 30th, 2015
North America Open Cup - Third Round
FC Dallas vs Wake Forest
-- nice sized crowd that has come to see us get destroyed today!
-- I guess 50-1 is the worst odds one can get? Same odds we had to beat Wilmington recently.
3': They take a corner to the near post, Campbell is there, in fact, he's all alone there, no Dallas players at all. But he heads it the wrong way, into his own goal. Nerves? 0-1
8': One Dallas shot off the post, a nice save on the rebound. Corner for them. Taken to Bianchi who heads it in. 0-2
44': Some nifty, quick passing around our defensive end by Dallas, leading to a nice strong shot from Erick 20 yards out for a goal. 0-3
HALF: The dream is over. They have 9 shots to our 0.
56': A rebound goal for McInerney... actually I dunno that looked like another Campbell own goal. Thank god it wasn't counted that way, poor guy. 0-4
56': Roth, Pace and Sandoval in for Navarro, Cooper, and Shakespeare. The three guys on the field I would miss the most if they got hurt.
70': Pace with an interception on our side of midfield, he's allowed to make a long run down the right side, places a cross, Roth with a volley... saved.. Our first on target shot! Second shot total today.
75': They win a header on a goal kick, its headed well ahead of the defense, ST Avila is so much faster than anyone on our team, he easily gets to it ahead of everyone else and puts it by Gyan with ease. 0-5
85': Brian Williams is hurt and forced to leave the match. Lets hope its not serious.
FC Dallas 5 : 0 Wake Forest
They outshot us 16-3, basically exactly what you'd expect from a match like this.
Jackson, Pickering and Campbell were all under 6, Pickering 5.4/Campbell 5.5. Rose 5.9, everyone else low 6's.
Disaster, the one thing we would want to avoid here today. DMC Brian Williams is going to miss 3-4 months with a torn hamstring.
-- We're now out of every cup. We have 7 matches before the league split, all of them will be in July. More on that in a moment though.
-- Gyan trains well, Coggins and Burke poorly.
-- We play on July 3rd, 10th, 17th, 21st, 24th, 28th, and 31st. All league matcthes, 4 at home, 3 on the road. We currently sit in 3rd place but with only 4 points between us and 8th.
-- The board is pleased with my leadership. Our positive atmosphere is the good, our 2-0 loss to Nashville in league play is the bad. The board ask for my patience while dealing with speculation regarding the sale of the club. We are financially secure and made $846,000 profit last month.
-- DR Bob Varela resumes full training after being hurt for a month.
July 3rd, 2015
Wake Forest Cougars (5-1-2, 3rd) vs Asheville Attack (3-0-5, 12th)
-- About 14,000 less people are watching this match compared to our last one.
-- Asheville is a bad team, but hopefully not so bad that we are screwed here :P
Counting Gyan, we are able to start 5 of our top 11 today, and guys like Davidson and Roth fill in nicely enough that I like this lineup.
10': They have a goal kick and take it short, slowly working up the field, once they pass midfield there's a quick ball ahead though and they attack, getting their ST ahead of our defense, Burke comes in with a sliding tackle attempt, he doesn't win the ball but he delays the shot, when its finally taken Gyan makes a very nice stop.
21': Throwin for us at midfield, we passit around the left side for a bit, Shakespeare lobs it ahead to Roth, the keeper rushs out as Roth is by himself, he shoots from 18 yards and puts it into the right side of the net. 1-0
24': Roth to Cooper for a pretty decent shot from the right side, saved though. We get a shot off the corner too but saved.
42': Their left forward gets by Jackson, but Jackson keeps a decent bit of pressure on him, forcing a tough shot that goes wide.
HALF: Its really even here. 4 shots each, 3 on target for us, 2 for them. 53/47 possession. We're way behind in the air, which is fairly rare for us.
70': First highlight of the half, they have to work to get the ball out of their own end after a save, but once they do they get their attack going, passing up the middle from a MC up to striker Watts. He's in a big hole in our defense that seems to be there for no reason, no movement, no runs anywhere... just left alone. And he gets a clear cut chance by gyan. 1-1
77': Perkins in for Glaser, Pace in for Roth.
80': After a lot of passing deep in our end, they manage a cross in from the left and Watts gets his second goal. 1-2
80': Attack, and stop holding onto the ball for longer than necessary.
91': They get a goal that seals it in the final minute, another cross from the left and a strong volley to end it. 1-3
Wake Forest 1 : 3 Asheville
I guess Asheville isn't a good enough team for us to win against after all.
Goal: Roth (7.0)
Assist: Shakespeare (7.0)
Garry Garcia with a 5.8 rating in defense was really bad.
I tell the team they were bad and must be better next time out and it seemed to motivate them.
-- Ashley Varela resumes full training.
-- Transfers not allowed while buyout of our team is finalized.
-- We've lost 4 matches in a row. Two of them were against Wilmington and Dallas, which shouldn't really count, but its had a pretty notable impact on our team moral. Most everyone is "okay", where we were used to seeing most people have a pretty positive feeling for a long time.
July 10th, 2015
Model City Kings (4-1-4, 7th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (5-1-3, 5rd)
-- Every match is huge with the split on the line, but this is especially important.
-- We've played these guys twice and drawn both times.
-- Model City are listed as even money favorites today.
-- Model City has a monster of a striker in Alfonso Grisi, overall he's played 18 matches and scored 10 goals. In league play 4 starts and 3 goals. We have to shut him down. Close down and make him use his left foot.
-- Defend, retain possession.
5': They try a cross, Pickering heads it away, but they recover, a couple pases later they get it to Grisi, he's well covered, but makes a turn in the area and gets a good shot off, goal. 0-1
28': We control the ball for some time, but can't find an opening. Finally Navarro finds Cooper, he makes the extra pass to Rose for a clear cut chance.. but saved. They clear the corner, we recover but can't do anything.
39': They have a throwin deep in their own defensive end. Its taken but the player its thrown to isn't paying attention, Navarro gets to it first and quickly has a clear cut chance... that he puts way over.
HALF: I'm very worried that we're getting stuck in a rut at a terrible time here. The match is pretty even, 3 shots each, but two of ours were clear cut chances and they have the only goal. They are passing slightly better, tackling way better and are winning significantly in the air.
46': This is the second time they botch a throwin in their own end. Navarro with another good look, but they block it. Corner goes nowhere.
69': First highlight in 25 minutes, they get a short cross in from the right, Grisi with a volley from 8 yards out, goal. 0-2
69': I already had the instruction queued up to switch to standard play from defensive.
83': Ugh, attack. They're killing the clock.
84': Great play from Navarro to Cooper, lays it back to Shakespeare, lob forward to Navarro, that's behind the defense and Navarro is all alone.. but a shitty first touch prevents the easy goal. He pulls it wide right and we get a corner out of it, but can't do anything with it.
Model City 2 : 0 Wake Forest
Shakespeare with a 7.1 today, no one was below 6, though Galvis ended at 6.1 Our morale is tanking a bit, we need a win bad.
Just looking at the highlights it looked like Navarro really, really had a poor match and should have had at least one goal, and possibly as many as three.
We drop to 6th, and are just 1 point clear of 9th now, its a big pack and whoever wins a few matches goes through. We are hurting ourselves a lot.
-- Before the trade embargo went up, I had made an offer to a defender two tiers up that I really like. He accepted the offer, the transfer was cancelled, and two days later the sale of our team falls apart, and the embargo was lifted. I make him another offer and hope that he still wants to play here.
22 y/o DC Steve Forrest joins us from CASL Chelsea, two tiers above us. He'd only played 4 matches for the first team all season so he wasn't happy. From my perspective, a guy who can ever crack the roster two tiers above us sounds like a good thing!
7 heading/6 marking/10 tackling. All fine for this level. 9 composure/4 concentration/7 decisions/3 determination/6 positioning. 13 jumping/10 strength.
So that determination is bad, but the composure and decision making are things that rarely exist here. So I *hope* he works out. Its been really difficult for me to judge who will work out and who won't, especially at DC, but I'm hopeful.
-- Because he hasn't been playing, Forrest is nowhere near match fit. We'll make sure he gets reserves time. A couple of our lesser used players are starting to have some fitness issues too.
-- The Charlotte Eagles beat the Wilmington Hammerheads in the final of the Old North Cup. They are the #2 and #3 teams in the state for sure. The #1 team in the state, defending Old North Cup champs Carolina RailHawks, were upset by Wilmington in the semifinals.
July 17th, 2015
Tupelo Possums (4-3-3, 8th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (5-1-4, 6th)
-- I would have really liked to have been at home for this one to try to turn this streak around. This does mean 3 of our last 4 are at home at least.
-- We've played these guys twice, lost once, tied once.
-- We famously lost to Tupelo in the next to last match of the first split last season, a team who at the time had 1 win in 13 matches played. This effectively knocked us out of the top half of the league.
I make some changes here despite everyone being fresh. Roth up front, Davidson over Rose, Tapia to DMC, and Burke in at DC for Galvis.
9': Glaser picks up an injury early on and is forced to leave the match. Perkins is in.
10': Cooper earns us a corner with a good free kick. Corner taken near post to Pickering. He gets a shto off, saved, second corner. We can't get a shot off this one but retain possession and back things up.. no luck.
19': Davidson with a long free kick from the left sideline, Roth is able to get his head to it, but its wide.
24': Shakespeare with a great ball ahead for Davidson, clear cut chance.. saved.
35': They have a free kick from 25 yards out... taken beautifully, top left corner of the net. We are 100% outplaying these guys, that was their first shot. 0-1
42': We clear a ball out of our end and counter, Davidson with a nice long run, a ball ahead to Shakespeare, he gets a shot off from 18 yards out... hits the bar and goes over.
HALF: We are so much better than these guys. We control possession, shots, passing, tackling, heading, is all in our favor fairly heavily. We just can't find a goal. I try to keep the team upbeat by telling them they're playing well, that was a mistake, whole team is de-motivated. Oops. I hope I didn't just lose it for us. Some individual talks help.
60': We lose the ball while attacking and they counter hard, a couple passes leads to a clear cut chance, but its over.
67': Campbell yellow.
71': Rose in for Davidson.
74': Rose with a poor cross, too bad since we have two guys in the 6 yard box. We get a corner out of it but that coulda been better. Corner goes nowhere.
79': Burke clears a ball off the line on a corner and we get a good counterattack going. Rose ends up with a clean look in the area, a clear cut chance, but right at the keeper.
81': Cooper with a corner into the 6 yard box, Pickering is there, heads it, goal! 1-1
81': We keep attacking, Maybe greedy, I want a win.
90': Rose with an awful shot from way too far out left when he coudl have held up play and gotten help.
92': Some decent passing, Roth ends up inding Shakespeare in the area, its a good look, but saved.
We get the point.
Tupalo 1 : 1 Wake Forest
Goal: Pickering (7.3)
Assist: Cooper (6.9)
Everyone else is 6.7-6.9.
I tell the team they were unlucky, and I mean it. We end up outshooting them 11-4, and are just superior in every way. Even attacking hard and taking off the retain possession order for the entire second half, we won possession 56-44. Their only goal comes on a long free kick that never ever goes in.
We maintain 6th with that draw. Still just 1 point clear of 9th.
Gary Glaser is out for 4-5 weeks with a groin strain. Not good!
-- David Campbell is going to miss our next match after picking up the yellow today.
There are the standings with 4 left to play. Remember that 7th place is the cutoff. The biggest thing in our favor I think is that 3 of our last 4 are at home. We definitely ought to make it here, but we'll see. Counting the cup matches this is 6 in a row without a win.
EDIT: Game crashed, so my last game is thrown out.
-- So if anyone saw the last update before it was edited, we got *stomped* by Danville, 4-1. But the game crashed before the next save point. So we get another chance here.
July 21st, 2015
Wake Forest Cougars (5-2-4, 6th) vs Danville Villains (4-4-3, 8th)
-- We played Danville twice last year and split, 1 win apiece.
Youth pull Gallardo gets his first start at AMR, with Crook hurt. Standard mindset, no instructions at the start.
1': Rose with a run down the left right off the kickoff, his cross attempt is cleared though.
19': Danville shoots on a free kick, wide.
HALF: What the heck was that. There was one highlight in the final 25 minutes, some passing leading to an offsides by Navarro... We have two off target shots, they have one. That's it.
47': We have a throwin in their end, Bergmann throws it to the other team though... they build up fairly quickly, there's a cross in from the left, ST Chappell is there and he puts it in. 0-1
52': We watch Navarro score but he is clearly offsides.
55': Rose is forced to leave the match with an injury. Davidson is in. I'm also subbing Navarro out and Ratzburg is in.
57': Davidson with a cross in to Ratzburg, he's in a decent position but lots of defenders around, he gets tripped up and the ball goes free, shakespeare is first to it but his shot is blocked.
59': We build up down the right side, Ratzburg to Shakespeare, right back to Raztburg and that's a clear cut chance... but he hits the right post.
70': Bergmann with a yellow. He'll miss the next match.
71': We're generating some shots at least. Gallardo got a fairly decent look here, but saved.
76': Wide open look after a long ball for Stokes from Danville, he just misses from 18.
78': We pass it straight up the middle, Ratzburg lobs a ball down the left side for Davidson, he crosses, Shakespeare has a great look from about 8 yards out... and he hits the keeper with it. Gallardo tries to followup on the rebound but its blocked. Corner. The corner is poorly taken.
79': Tapia in for Perkins. We will try to attack harder.
92': We give up a last minute goal. Same result in the second try. I guess that's only fair. 0-2
Wake Forest 0 : 2 Danville
Perkins 6.8, Gyan and Shakespeare 6.7. Everyone else is in the 6.2-6.3 range. Just awful play all around.
AML Rose is out 2-3 months with a broken rib. So this actually turns out worse than the last one. We only have a few games to turn this around and get into the top split, otherwise we have shit to play for again this year.
July 24th, 2015
Wake Forest Cougars (5-2-5, 8th) vs Kentucky Colonels (7-1-4, 3rd)
We played Kentucky once last year and lost. We're in 8th with 3 matches left before the split, gotta win now.
So I have a few players at "fairly good" morale still. Harrington DR Varela, Galvis, Vega, Cooper. All of these guys start. Some guys at Good morals are too tired from resreve matches. Trying to give the team a boost anyway I can here.
3': Free kick for us about 35 yards out, taken short to Vega, he runs to the right side of the field, lobs a cross in, it bounces at the penalty spot, Davidson heads it off the bounce, keeper gets a hand to it but can't stop it, goal! When was the last time we had a lead? 1-0
31': They have a free kick from 25 yards out fairly wide right, Dennison curls it towards goal, Harrington dives.. and can't stop it. 1-1
37': We get a goal from Perkins on a set play, a free kick out right... but offsides apparently. That was pretty close, not obvious at all.
43': Free kick for them, another shot, hits the crossbar and goes over.
HALF: Not a lot of highlights after the early goal. They take 2 shots, we only have 1 all half.
53': Free kick in our end taken by Harrington, he kicks it long, Roth controls it, passes ahead to Davidson, he gets a shot from 20 yards out, its saved and turned back for a corner, which we take real poorly.
66': An easy goal for Kentucky. ST has it up high, passes to left midfielder cutting inside, our defender doesn't run with him and he's wide open. Its Dennison, the same guy that scored on the free kick. 1-2
66': Ratzburg in for Roth, Shakespeare in for Perkins.
70': We'll open up the offense a bit.
76': Yellow for their mid Glazer.
78': It looks like they're about to get an easy shot but Burke makes a real nice sliding tackle to win possession about 20 yards out, some nice passes get the ball upfield, Davidson to Ratzburg, back out wide to Davidson, he makes a run and crosses... poor cross past the goal, but Cooper controls the ball in the box near the end line. He's tackled... penalty!! Shakespeare takes the penalty... good!!!! 2-2
78': Counterattacking mindset here, lets defend and we'll go for a break if we can.
90': Cooper intercepts a pass in midfield, passes ahead to Ratzburg, he lobs a ball to the penalty box, Davidson controls it, shoots from about 15 yards... goal!!! I did not expect that at all. 3-2
92': Davidson earns us a corner with a cross attempt... Davidson takes the corner, to the far end of the 6 yard box, Burke goes up for it with two defenders, Burke wins the header and drives it into the net!! 4-2
Wake Forest 4 : 2 Kentucky
Thank god. Lets hope we didn't break out of our slump too late.
Man of the Match: Brian Davidson (9.3)
Goals: Davidson 2, Burke (7.5), Shakespeare (6.9)
Assists: Davidson, Vega (7.7), Cooper (7.5), Ratzburg (6.9)
Notables: Tapia (7.0)
With 2 matches to play before the split, we sit in 7th place, just 2 points ahead of 8th. Our last two matches are both against teams below us in the standings.
July 28th, 2015
North Meck SC (5-2-6, 10th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (6-2-5, 7th)
This is our first meeting.
Despite their poor record, they are somehow 1:6 favorites today.
Most players morale is back up to Fairly Good or better now. I pick Pena over Villa at DM b/c Villa is still just "okay" morale, I want green everywhere. Also note Danny Coggins at DL. Due to injuries all year, this is Coggins first match of the season for me.
11': Sandoval wins a header for us off a goal kick to get possession going, Davidson passes to Sandoval, back to Davidson in the corner of the area.. he's tackled.. penalty!! Sandoval takes the penalty and drains it! 1-0
21': They score on a header off a corner, ugh! 1-1
37': We watch them on offense, Shakespeare blocks a long shot nicely and later intercepts a pass, good D.
40': Strong shot from the right side of the area for North Meck, Gyan is there to save it.
HALF: After that goal we didn't see a single offensive highlight. They outshoot us 4-2, but overall stats are quite even. No changes at the half.
46': We start with the ball and advance, getting a corner off a cross from Davidson, corner goes nowhere though.
55': Pena and Sandoval have both picked up minor injuries in the last 10 minutes.
65': Tapia in for Sandoval, Vega in for Pena.
75': Tapia with a free kick wide left about 30 yard osut, a cross into the box, Davidson is there, onsides, volley... keeper dives and stops it, the ball back to Davidson, he puts it in!! 2-1
79': They take a corner, this one Gyan grabs.
80': We intercept a pass in defense and move foward, Navarro ahead to Shakespeare, lays it back to Cooper in the area, we have a lot of men forward, Cooper to Shakespeare for the shot... saved.
92': They take a tough shot from the right side of the area and its high and wide.
Two in a row!
North Meck SC 1 : 2 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Brian Davidson (8.4)
Goals: Davidson, Sandoval (6.8)
6.5-6.7 ratings everywhere else.
We should get through now, but its not a guarantee yet. If we lose, and Model City wins or draws, Danville and Owensboro both win, we could finish 8th.
July 31st, 2015
Wake Forest Cougars (7-2-5, 5th) vs Savannah Braves (5-2-7, 10th)
This is our first meeting.
Its not a great lineup, fitness is an issue, this is our 3rd match in 10 days and we ran a lot of key players out twice in a row to get that last win over North Meck.
2': They kick off but give the ball away pretty early. Long ball from Gyan, Gallardo to Ratzburg, back to Gallardo, he blows by his man and gets into the area and shoots, not an easy shot. Its tipped wide for a corner, which goes nowhere.
16': They have it in the area, Burke blocks a shot though and clears it to Gallardo, he passes immediately to Ratzburg who makes a run, he goes right and frees up a little space, shoots from 18 yards out... it hits the crossbar and bounces in!! 1-0
23': Gallardo is hurt and must leave the match immediately. Ugh, he had already made a couple nice plays. Cooper is in.
45': Villa to Ratzburg, we've been on offense awhile and there are a lot of people forward, Ratzburg lays it off for Perkins, its a clear cut chance from about 12 yards out, but its wide.
HALF: Solid half. Each team only has 3 shots but we're ok with that with the lead, and 61% of the possession.
70': First highlight of the half, After Jackson intercepts a pass to get the offense going we take our time, eventually Cooper finds Perkins in the area for his second clear cut chance, and he puts it wide.
77': Sandoval in for Tapia.
91': Vega in for Villa. Timewasting really.
Three in a row!
Wake Forest 1 : 0 Savannah
Man of the Match: Patrick Ratzburg (8.3)
Assist: Gallardo (6.8)
Notables: Jackson (7.0)
And there's the split. So we play 6 more matches this season, once against all of the other top 7 teams. The worst we can finish is 7th.
Huntington and Peoria seem to be notably better than everyone else, but we could get hot and win the league still, or if we can get into the playoffs then anything can happen.
The schedule gets a lot more relaxing from here... there are multiple two week breaks between matches that we will have to manage by getting first team players into reserve and U18 matches to try to keep them fit.
-- Between July 31st and August 14th (our next league match) we only play one U18 match, no reserve matches. Not sure if its smart or not, or if it helps or not, but we switch to High Intensity Fitness training for one week.
-- ST Samir Pace is upset about his lack of first team soccer and has a chat with me about it. I tell him I'm going to give him a first team shot. I don't really want to dump ST depth, but, at the same time, Navarro/Roth/Ratzburg have all earned their playing time, Pace never has. I have AMR injuries like crazy, I'll probably give him a start there.
-- DC Garcia, GK Harrington and DL Campbell all train poorly.
-- The board is very pleased with my leadership. That's an improvement from just "pleased" for awhile. Team atmosphere is the highlight, our 1-3 loss to Asheville is the one they picked out of all our bad losses in July before we turned it around. We made $5,960 profit last month.
-- AMR Ryan Crook just started full training again, and he's hurt himself again, out 2 months.
-- On August 7th I change our training back to Team Cohesion/Average (instead of high fitness).
August 14th, 2015
Wake Forest Cougars (8-2-5, 4th) vs Cleveland Stokers (7-2-6, 7th))
We've played Cleveland 3 times, 1 win, 2 draws. We beat them 2:1 on the road earlier this year.
Starting our new DC Forrest is the only thing in here that could be considered interesting I think.
Cleveland's best player is ST Diego Sinisterra. We will close down on him.
29': First highlight of the match, Shakespeare shoots a free kick over everything.
34': Shakespeare with an interception, after a couple passes Shakespeare with a through ball to Navarro, he's ahead of the defense, pulls up at the 18 yard mark, its a clear cut chance.. but wide.
46': Jackson with an interception to start this play off, Cooper to Shakespeare... a lob ahead for Navarro, its just like the last highlight, Navarro a clear cut chance, shoots from the edge of the box, and its saved.
HALF: We're playing better, but need to get that goal. 5 shots to 1, they are dominating possession though, 58/42 edge there, and they're actually passing and tackling better too. Just not generating any chances.
57': Cooper is hurt and must leave the match. Crap. Gallardo is in.
60': Davidson with a yellow.
60': They have a free kick from 40 yards out, its taken into the box but headed out by Campbell. Davidson picks up the ball after the header in our own half, and he takes off, to the middle of hte field, beats one man, keeps going... to the edge of the box, a shot is blocked, but it doesn't ricochet far, Davidson gets to the loose ball, shoots, goal!!! 1-0
82': Sandoval in for Tapia, Vega in for Villa.
83': They win a ball and counter hard, a lob to ST Delgado and he's got a clear cut chance from 18 yards out, Gyan rushes out... and he stops the shot! It falls to the right side of the area, but our defense is back now, they get a pass back into the middle, Pickering with a tackle... they recover... pickering I think with another tackle (two defenders there, could be the other one), and we clear. WHEW.
86': Davidson with a free kick from 20, its high.
91': We earn a corner as davidson makes a long run into the box and has it tackled away. Watching the highlight I had to laugh... Davidson started his run about 40 yards out, Navarro was there the entire time... and offsides THE ENTIRE TIME. So Davidson couldn't pass, he had to run into the area and do it all himself. Corner goes nowhere.
We hold off the last couple minutes!
Wake Forest 1 : 0 Cleveland
Man of the Match: Joe Pickering (8.3)
Goal: Davidson (7.3)
Assist: Campbell (6.8)
Notables: Forrest (7.1), Shakespeare (7.1)
I'm thrilled to see our defense put up good numbers, Pickering has struggled so much this year, today he is 9/9 on headers, including 4 key headers, with a cray 14 interceptions.
Our new DC Steve Forrest had 8 interceptions and 4 key headers too, both were great. That probably explains how we had such a possession deficit early when it looked like we were in control.
I tell pickering I'm extremely happy with his play.
ST Ratzburg is hurt in a U18 match and will miss 4-5 weeks. This isn't a huge deal since our schedule load has lightened so much and we need less depth the rest of the way.
August 21st, 2015
Model City Kings (8-1-7, 6th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (9-2-5, 4th)
We're in a 3 way tie for 2nd right now, but have the worst goal differential.
We're 1-1-1 against these guys in our history. We lost 2:0 this year.
Roth starts for Navarro, only change. Their best player is Alfonso Grisi, he wrecked us in our last meeting. We are lucky today I think. He's a ST/AML/ML, and he's being played at ML today. I hope he's less dangerous there. ST Martin French is a threat too though. They have some good players.
11': they have a corner, Tapia clears it out.
24': Davidson shoots on a free kick and earns us a corner. He takes the free kick to the near post, low, Pickering with the volley, goal!! 1-0
33': We earn one corner, they turn it behind, next one taken by Cooper, Pickering gets his head to it... but wide. Close.
43': They change play from right to left, Grisi with a run into the area, we make him pull it back out wide.. .he crosses to French, header is saved, but there's a rebound and French puts this one in. 1-1
Close half. They outshoot us 5-3, they're better in all statistical areas but not by a lot, and they have 54% of the possession. We just had all the early highlights I guess.
65': Roth picks up a minor injury.
72': They have a long goal kick, Grisi is there, passes ahead to French, but his shot is well high.
72': Navarro in for Roth, Burke in for Forrest.
81': We win a ball on a goal kick, ahead to Navarro quickly, he makes a run to the 18 yard mark and shoots.. wide.
We'll take a road draw I think.
Model City 1 : 1 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Joe Pickering (7.4)
Assist: Davidson (6.8)
I shouldn't have said anything about Ratzburg's injury being no big deal. ST Roth is now out 6-7 weeks with an ankle injury he picked up today.
-- We are listed in 3rd after this draw, but other teams are still in the Amateur Cup so we've got an extra match played on some of these teams. We are 4 points clear of 6th, the first spot that would miss the playoffs.
Season over? ST Navarro is out 5 weeks with a broken cheekbone. DL Bergmann is out 4-5 weeks with a training injury. DR Fausto Diaz is out 4-5 weeks with an injury picked up in our U18 match. DC Garry Garcia is out 4-5 weeks with an injury picked up in the same U18 match.
Navarro's has huge implications here. Our top three ST's are now hurt. Its not like last year where there is zero depth. We still have Pace and Reynoso, and we have youth pull Ben Goodwin, though his match fitness is in the tank.
August 28th, 2015
Wake Forest Cougars (9-3-5, 3rd) vs Kentucky Colonels (9-2-5, 4th)
We're 1-0-1 lifetime against Kentucky. We beat them very recently 4-2, that game kicked off our little resurgance in league play here.
Pace in at ST.
24': Long highlight here, starts with them winning a ball, they build up possession for some time, but finally, Jackson wins it for us with a sliding tackle, Forrest launches the clearance over everyone, Cooper runs it down and has it in the right corner for us, he finds a cross, Shakespeare heads it... deflected, Davidson is there, and scores! 1-0
HALF: That was the only highlight of the half. We have 2 shots, they have none.
46': We rush forward after kickoff, Cooper with a cross, but they head it out. Shakespeare recovers, but loses possession.
51': After some midfield possession, Shakespeare sends it ahead to Pace, he ends up shooting from 20 yards out, wide.
52': Davidson with a nice run down the left... cross, Cooper with the header, just wide.
53': Villa sends it ahead to Davidson, he's down near the end line in the area after a cut, he passes in front of the goal, Shakespeare has it, but his shot is blocked. It doesn't get much easier than that, that need to be a goal every single time.
55': Furious action here, they have a shot from the left side of the area that Gyan dives for and tips behind for a corner. We clear the corner.
62': Jackson with a long pass to Pace, he makes a run into the area, shoots from a pretty tough angle, and its saved.
65': Reynoso in for Pace.
65': They earn a corner on a long cross, ST Schmidt gets his head on it, but Gyan saves.
80': Sandoval in for Tapia.
82': We control possession in the middle for awhile, Shakespeare sends it ahead finally for Cooper, he runs down the right, passes back into the middle, Shaksepeare with a strong shot, but saved.
85': Long free kick for Shakespeare, into the area, headed by Reynoso, just over though.
89': Drop back to Contain for the ending here.
92': We're passing it around for awhile, wasting time mainly, davidson ends up sending it ahead to Reynoso though and he gets by one man and is all alone at the penalty spot... and his shot is saved. That is another shot that needs to be a goal 90% of the time or more.
That'll do it!
Wake Forest 1 : 0 Kentucky
Man of the Match: Brian Davidson (7.5)
Assists: Shakespeare (7.4)
Notables: Jackson (7.2), Campbell (7.1)
After that we sit in 2nd place, actually tied for first but losing in goal differental. But we have extra matches on everyone right now.
We only play two matches in September, so we'll see what the teams around us do. We only have 3 matches left to play total. We are very, very likely to make the playoffs now.
-- ST Pace trains well.
-- The board remains very pleased. Locker Room Atmosphere FTW. 0-2 loss to Danville is bad. We lost $3,740 last month.
Backup MC Ashley Sandoval is hurt in a U18 match trying to keep his fitness up, he's out for 4-5 weeks.
September 11th, 2015
Peoria Steamers (10-2-5, 3rd) vs Wake Forest Cougars (10-3-5, 2nd)
We beat them earlier this year. We are inexplicably 1-3 favorites on the road against a team who would pass us in the standings if we lose.
No lineup changes today. Peoria's Jake Wilson has 10 league goals in 14 matches, we're going to try to force him onto his right foot (he's left footed), and close down on him.
2': they get the first shot of the match, its way wide though.
13': Corner for us, Cooper sends it near post, Pickering wins the header but its high.
19': Cooper with a run down the right and a cross to Pace, they taclke it away from Pace immediately, ball falls to Shakespeare, his shot is high.
26': They get a strong pass ahead to ST smith, he pulls the ball out wide right, crosses, Wilson is there and heads it in. 0-1
HALF: We control possession pretty well, and overall its a fairly even match, 4 shots to 3, other stats pretty close, but they've got the goal. I bring Reynoso in for Pace at the half.
52': They send a ball into the left side of the area after a throwin, Wilson gets a clear cut chance... but misses. Whew.
69': Cooper earns us a corner as a shot is blocked. He takes it, it looks to me like the keeper gets his hands on it but can't control it, and Pickering is there to head the loose ball in! 1-1
84': We give the ball away in midfield, they show two quick passes and its on the foot of Wilson, he's at the 18 yard mark has a clear cut chance, we have a defender close to him but not pressuring enouhg, he buries the shot. 1-2
84': Gallardo in for Davidson, Perkins in for Tapia.
90': Gallardo earns us a corner with a cross, Cooper takes it, Pickering heads it... no good. Too high.
92': Gyan with a long kick after a pass back from a defender, it falls to Shakespeare, he pushes forward quickly, only seconds to go likely, he shoots from 20 yards out, and misses badly. That's the game.
Peoria 2 : 1 Wake Forest
Goal: Pickering (7.6)
Assist: Cooper (6.8)
We sit in 4th after the loss, we've still got one more match played than everyone though.
-- We have lots of guys coming off injury, Brian Williams and Dylan Rose now, but the odds that they'll be fit before the end of the year seems low. Navarro is back too and hasn't been out quite as long.
-- Never mind, Rose is hurt in his first reserve match back. He's done.
September 25th, 2015
Wake Forest Cougars (10-3-6, 5th) vs Huntington Hammers (10-3-5, 3rd)
We dominate these guys, 4-0-0 lifetime, including a 2:0 win earlier this year.
Navarro is on the bench today and will come in if there are any issues (he may come in anyway). I don't think he can go 90 though.
10': We have a throwin on offense, its passed ahead to Reynoso on the left side, passed to Davidson in the area, he shoots, but wide.
11': They move the ball around and end up with a lob to a striker, he shoots from 20 yards, but over.
25': Cooper with a minor injury.
29': Tapia with a free kick from 20 yards, shoots, high.
HALF: They out-shoot us 5-3, but neither team has a single shot on target yet. We are dominating in the air (85% headers won to 40%). I bring Navarro in at the half.
53': Cooper crosses and we earn a corner off it. Davidson takes the corner, but they clear.
62': Cooper with a corner... short to Pickering but he pulls it back instead of shooting, Tapia has a shot blocked after a couple passes, that's it there.
83': Cooper with another corner, this to the far post, Forrest is there, and he heads it in! 1-0
83': Vega in for Villa, Gallardo in for Cooper.
Wake Forest 1 : 0 Huntington
Man of the Match: Ian Cooper (7.2)
Goals: Forrest (7.2)
Everyone else is 6.8-6.9 here.
Everyone else that played today that was above us in the standings either lost or tied. That leaves the standings like this:
Peoria still controls their own destiny. And since Cleveland picked up a win in 6th place today technically we could still fail to make the playoffs, but yeah, we're gonna make the playoffs... at least.
:banana: :banana: (I have no idea, I didn't see a thumbs up smiley, so bananas it is).
-- DL Coggins, DC Varela, AM Gallardo train well. Roth/Williams/Crook, all coming off injury, train pooly.
-- The board remains very plesed, atmosphere good, ST Roth's play bad. Leave the injured guy alone! 2 goals in 5 league starts, 4 goals total in 11 games, he's been fine, given that we aren't exactly a high scoring team. We lost $5100 last month.
September 25th, 2015
Danville Villains (9-6-4, 5th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (11-3-6, 1st)
We're 1-0-2 against these guys lifetime. We lost 0-2 at home to them during our bad slump earlier this year.
Their star is Michael Chappell, 8 goals in 16 league matchess (13 goals in 29 total).
12': They attack down the right side, a short cross in from the right, stopped, crossed through the 6 yard box, Chappell heads it in. 0-1
19': Shakespeare with a cross in to Navarro, he passes back to Cooper, shoots.. saved.
35': Cooper picks up a minor injury.
HALF: We fly to the half after that. We jump up to a standard mindset and take away the retain possession order to try to get more chances in the second half.
Gallardo comes in for Cooper, no need to risk further injury.
54': Davidson with a corner, Pickering heads it... off the post, damn!
58': They shoot off a free kick, saved by Gyan.
61': They cross a ball in from the right, poor cross right at Pickering, but he mishits it trying to clear, it basically bounces off his lower leg and redirects into the goal. 0-2
65': Navarro has a shot blocked, corner. Corner is cleared.
65': We'll look to attack.
75': Vega in for Villa.
92': Gallardo to Navarro, he shoots from the right side and its not really close.
Danville 2 : 0 Wake Forest
The early goal and then the Pickering own goal, pretty rough one. Pickering with a 6.2.
A cleveland win makes this scary for us.
We have 36 points, in 3rd place.
Kentucky has 34 points in 4th. Cleveland 33 points in 5th. Huntington 33 points in 6th. Only top 5 make the playoffs. Kentucky, Cleveland and Huntington don't play each other in the last match, so its possible all three could win and leave us out of the playoffs.
Ian Cooper was hurt in our last match and is going to miss 4-5 weeks. If we make the playoffs, he won't be there.
October 16th - League Play
I decide to spectate Kentucky vs Peoria. Kentucky is at home, but Peoria is #1 right now.
Cleveland is also at home, but against #2 Danville.
Huntington is on the road vs Model City.
19': Model City goes up 1:0 on Huntington. The other two are still scoreless. We'd finish 3rd if it ended like this.
HALF: Things are unchanged. We're in 3rd.
48': Danville scores a goal on Cleveland. Both Cleveland and Huntington would have to overcome 1-0 deficits in the next 40 minutes now.
52': Cleveland gets the tying goal pretty darn quick there. They're 1:1 with Danville.
54': Huntington ties it up against Model City
56': Cleveland takes a 2-1 lead on Danville. Uhh... now Cleveland is ahead of us. We would still need to see Huntington and Kentucky both turn ties into wins.
67': Crazy game in Cleveland. Danville just scored to tie it back up at 2. So all three games I care about are now tied. Since all three need specific winners, that is pretty ok.
74': Model City scores on Huntington, we should be safe now.
75': Danville goes up 3:2 on Cleveland.
80': Cleveland ties it up against Danville, 3-3, crazy.
Perfect. All three results had to go against us for us to miss the playoffs. Instead, all three went in our favor.
Wake Forest are in the Playoffs!
-- We receive $21,700 for finishing 3rd in the league.
Appalachian Premier League Playoff Draw
I forgot there was a draw here, not 2v5 and 3v4. That's how it works out anyway, we're playing Kentucky. Looks like its at a neutral field.
We've played Kentucky twice this year, winning both times.
October 24th, 2015
APL Playoff Semifinals
Kentucky Colonels (4th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (3rd)
-- 500 is a sellout here. This is in Kingsport, Tennessee.
Coggins gets the start at DL today, fitness reasons mostly. Gallardo starts at AMR for the injured Cooper.
4': Not the start we wanted. MR Frimpong with a free kick from 20 yards out, into the upper right corner of the net. 0-1
30': They work the ball around the right side for awhile, passing it back out a bit, then its sent into the left side of the area for ST Hill, he's got a clear look, and scores. 0-2
30': We'll attack.
43': Shakespeare with an interception, ahead to Navarro, he tries to shoot from 25 yards out and mishits it or soemthing. Its like 15 yards wide.
44': Gallardo with a good looking shot, keeper stops it. They clear the corner.
45': Jackson with a yellow.
46': They have a free kick, they try to send it into the area, Shakespeare clears, long to NAvarro, he lobs it ahead to Gallardo who makes a good run.. but shoots well wide.
HALF: We look pretty bad here. We'll try to pressure and attack a lot here, but it seems like a tough one to overcome.
49': Tapia with some good defense near midfield, he steals the ball, passes ahead to DAvidson, immediately into the area for Navarro, Navarro scores!! We're back in it! 1-2
65': Vega in for Villa at DMC.
71': We earn a corner on a cross by Jackson. Their keeper punches it out though.
74': They have a goal kick, we win the ball in midfield, up to Tapia, he heads it forward to Davidson, a through ball for Navarro, and he has a great look and puts it in!!! 2-2
74': Roth in for Navarro, Dylan Rose comes in out of position at AMR for Gallardo. Both Navarro and Gallardo are real tired.
74': We drop back to a standard mindset.
81': We have a free kick on the right edge of the box about 12 yards out. Tapia takes it, shoots from there, and its in!! That was no accidental cross that went towards the goal, that was a shot, straight up. COMEBACK COMPLETE! 3-2
81': Time to Defend.
That's it, we hold them off!!!!
Kentucky 2 : 3 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Ronnie Navarro (8.8)
Goals: Navarro 2, Tapia (8.3)
Assists: Davidson (8.3), Roth (6.8)
Everyone else in the 6.5-6.7 range.
That is a hell of a comeback right there.
We get great news from the other final as well, as Cleveland and Danville play another ridiculous game (they played in the final game of the regular season to a 3-3 draw). Cleveland wins this one 5-4 with goals in the 79th and 84th minutes coming back from a 4-3 deficit.
Danville has crushed us every time we've met them. But we've beaten Cleveland both times we played them.
-- Jose Alejandro Tapia credits my halftime talk for inspiring the comeback. I believe my words were "suck less" or something like that.
-- Joe Jackson's yellow will keep him out of the playoff finals. This one is on short rest so the lineup might be real interesting.
October 27th, 2015
APL Playoff Finals
Cleveland Stokers (5th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (3rd)
-- The finals are in West Virginia, in Charleston. Decent crowd!
Williams, Glaser, and Crook all make their first appearances in some time due to injuries. Rose will start at AML, might end up splitting time with Davidson.
Standard mindset today against a team I feel like we ought to beat more often than not.
2': Burke blocks a pass pretty deep in our own end and just launches the damn thing down field... from about 85 yards away I'd guess, the ball sails into the top of the net. In the air, no bounces. That was pretty flukey, at best. But I will take it! 1-0
13': Their strikers play a nice give and go to get a clear cut chance from the left side of the area, but its wide.
14': lets change to counterattacking here.
17': Free kick for them, shot wide.
29': Roth with a poor shot from 25 yards out way wide. He wasn't under any pressure, I'd rather see him wait for something better.
34': They send a ball down the right side, its crossed from the end line, Delgado heads it, Gyan makes a great save, but there's a rebound, which Delgado puts in. 1-1
HALF: They are outshooting us 7-4, have a slight possession lead 54/46. We're tackling and heading better, they are passing slightly better. Its a close one.
51': A long kick from their keeper, one header sends it into the area and they have a striker right thre 1v1 against Gyan, Gyan comes out.. and stops the shot!
55': Gyan saves another long shot.
61': Davidson is in for Rose.
63': Gyan with a long free kick out of our defense, Roth picks it up behind the defense... instead of shooting, he lays it off for Shakespeare, who misses wide. This time Roth had the better look I think.
82': Pickering in for a very tired Burke.
FULL TIME: No more highlights, we will go to extra time.
I bring Ratzburg in for an exhausted Roth and that's all our changes for the match.
93': Glaser with a nice chip ahead to Shakespeare, but his shot is saved easily.
99': We have it in midfield, a short pass ahead to Ratzburg, he turns by his man and makes a run, still a long ways from goal, a pass to Glaser, a strong shot from 20 yards... just wide.
EXTRA TIME HALFTIME: 15 more minutes.
108': Davidson takes a long free kick (from nearly midfield) and drives it low towards the penalty area. Shakespeare controls it very well given the pace on the ball, turns, shoots, and scores!!!! 2-1
108': We will defend.
112': Also, retain possession, shorter passing, slower tempo.
121': Campbell with a nice tackle and clearance as they try to build up for one last shot.
Cleveland 1 : 2 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Mark Shakespeare (7.4)
Goals: Shakespeare, Burke (7.4)
Assists: Davidson (6.8)
Notables: Varela (7.0), Forrest (7.0), Campbell (7.3), Glaser (7.0)
Some very solid ratings there, the defense was good! I expected higher rating for Gyan given the saves I saw him make, but he sat at a 6.7.
Wake Forest Promoted!!!!
-- The fans are overjoyed, of course.
-- Management has "always expected that I would deliver, and is pleased to not be let down" ... ok then.
-- We will play in the Atlantic Coast Amateur league in tier 7 next year.
We'll finish up end of season stuff tomorrow.
Congrats! Hopefully level 7 has a structure more conducive to rapidly promoting.
Wacky playoffs. Congrats on moving up!
Team stats, sorted by rating.
Shakespeare benefited from being our penalty taker, allowing him to lead the team in goals and assists. Brian Davidson is pretty impressive as our #2 rated player, given that in our first season I initially had him as the #3 AML in our depth chart.
There are a few guys not listed just b/c I couldn't get them to fit on the screenshot and didn't bother cropping a longer one together. Youth pulls DL Florian Bergmann, AMRL Jeff Gallardo and DR Fausto Diaz all played enough for their ratings to matter and were at the bottom of the list with 6.5x average ratings. Gallardo was mainly a sub, the other two started in rotation so their poor ratings are definitely just poor. Since we suck at training, that means they'll probably never make it.
Backup DC Garry Garcia also stands out with 5 starts, 5 backup appearances, and a 6.45 average rating.
Backup AMR Ryan Crook also got 10 starts and is near the bottom here with a 6.60 rating and not a single assist. He looked a lot better than that last year, that's a real disappointment.
MC Shakespeare - 10
AML Davidson - 9
ST Navarro - 7
AMR Cooper - 5
ST Roth - 4
ST Ratzburg - 3
AML Rose - 3
DC Pickering - 3
MC Shakespeare - 10
AMR Cooper - 10
AML Davidson - 9
AML Rose - 7
ST Roth - 4
Man of the Match Winners
MC Shakespeare - 6
AML Davidson - 5
AMR Cooper - 5
ST Ratzburg - 2
DC Pickering - 2
Appalachain Premier League Leaders
1. Gus Chapman - Huntington - 14
2. Jake Wilson - Peoria - 13
2. Michael Chappell - Danville - 13
4. Jack Williams - Cape City - 11
5. 6 tied - 10
21. Mark Shakespeare - Wake Forest - 6
27. Brian Davidson - Wake Forest - 5
32. Ronnie Navarro - Wake Forest - 4
1. Diego Sinisterra - Cleveland - 8
1. Mike Smith - Peoria - 8
1. Aldair Cuevas - Owensboro - 8
4. Jake Wilson - Peoria - 7
5. Many Tied - 6
5. Brian Davidson - Wake Forest - 6
12. Ian Cooper - Wake Forest - 5
21. Dylan Rose - Wake Forest - 4
1. Jake Wilson - Peoria - 7.62
2. Andrew Reid - Nashville - 7.36
3. Gus Chapman - Huntington - 7.34
4. Alfonso Grisi - Model City - 7.31
5. Ian Jackson - Jackson - 7.23
8. Mark Shakespeare - Wake Forest - 7.18
11. Brian Davidson - Wake Forest - 7.15
45. Jose Alejandro Tapia - Wake Forest - 6.85
50. Joe Pickering - Wake Forest - 6.82
54. Ian Cooper - Wake Forest - 6.81
-- Talks of team ownership changing come up again. We'll see what happens. That puts an embargo on signing players in place for now.
-- We're basically just going to fly through the next two months now to get into January. We do play a bunch of U18 and Reserve Matches, so expect injuries!
-- Brian Williams and Dylan Rose train well. Ryan Crook does not.
-- The board is very plesed with my leadership. Atmosphere is the big positive, Poor play by AML Dylan Rose is the negative. He's one of my top 6 or 7 players, but he was hurt a bunch. Whatever. We made $18,620 last month.
-- World Cup Qualifying stuff starts for the 2018 World Cup. The US is drawn into a group with Mexico, so that should be exciting. The other two teams are Guatemala and Curacao though so both should get through.
-- Local businessman Dick Garcia has completed his takeover of Wake Forest Cougars.
-- He thanks me for being patient during the takeover. Transfer embargo lifted.
This is on November 28th.
-- Crook trains well.
End of Season Team Meeting
-- I tell the team that I think if we add some pieces next year we can get a mid-table finish. The team freaks out a bit. I fucked this up last year too and most of the team was disappointed in my hopes for the team. Bunch of unambitious bastards.
-- Preseason will start January 4th.
-- Chicago beats Seattle 1:0 to win the North American Open Cup. Philadelphia and Real Salt Lake lost in the semifinals.
-- We'll spend most of December turning down job interviews.
-- Backup GK Phil Harrington gets released. I forgot that I mentioned that I'd let him go during the next transfer period the last time he complained about playing time. I just let him go to avoid risking him getting upset or something.
29 y/o ST/AMR/AMC Carlos Alberto Arredondo will be leaving the Richmond Strikers to join us next season.
Crossing 4/Dribbling 6/Finishing 6/Heading 4. Anticipation 4/Composure 4/Flair 10/Off Ball 5/Work Rate 12. Pace 7.
Worst case scenario this guy joins and I release a guy like Reynoso. But he also shows great teamwork (17) and good natural fitness so I'm hopefully that means he can fit in. He was also playing pretty well at the next level up for a team already (6.75 rating with 4 goals mainly used as AMC I think), which is a plus.
That takes us to December 17th.
Will the board start letting you pay people? Seems to me that in the past versions going to professional required having all players on a contract.
Not sure with the whole amateur thing, though.
-- We pay $325,000 in taxes, based on making $1.12 million throughout the year.
-- We offest that by signing a new jersey sponsorship deal worth $9,750/yr!
-- We announce a profit of $1.1 million on the year.
-- I make a couple other offers but get no bites.
With that, we hit December 30th, when the Transfer Windows open. I do a "save as" to set aside a copy of my game, again based on the fact that I "accidentally" turned my team into semi-pro somehow.
-- On Dec 30th, our new ST/AMR Arredondo joins the team.
I look through my scouting list pretty thoroughly, hoping to find a couple of the star players from last season that might be interested in joining us, but the first few guys I go after are all from far away and not interested in travelling so far for an amateur team.
-- Starting on Dec 31, offers start coming in for my players from other teams, lets hope that promoting up will keep a few of the better ones around.
Playoff Teams: New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Toronto FC, Montreal Impact, Chivas USA
Los Angeles beat New York in the finals to win the league.
Relegated Teams: Vancouver, Fort Lauderdale
I didn't note this in our first year... New York Cosmos and DC United were relegated out in the first season, Orlando City and Fort Lauderdale Strikers were promoted up.
This year, FC Edmonton and DC United will replace Vancouver and Fort Lauderdale.
Fans Player of the Year
-- Mark Shakespeare wins the award this year.
Wake Forest Best Eleven
DMC: Shakespeare (ugh)
Wake Forest All Time Best Eleven
The starting team here remains unchanged. It is:
GK: Amidu Gyan - 74 apps/6.79 rating
DL: David Campbell - 46 apps/1 goal/6.87 rating
DC: Hernando Galvis - 39 apps/1 goal/6.76 rating
DC: Joe Pickering - 51 apps/7 goals/6.96 rating
DR: Steve Arroyo - 29 apps/6.88 rating
DMC: Mark Shakespeare - 56 apps/16 goals/7.29 rating
MC: Jhonatan Mora - 23 apps/8 goals/7.17 rating
MC: Gary Glaser - 37 apps/2 goals/6.90 rating
AML: Brian Davidson - 46 apps/15 goals/7.15 rating
AMR: Ian Cooper - 50 apps/10 goals/7.11 rating
ST: Ronnie Navarro - 45 apps/18 goals/7.08 rating
Joe Jackson was added to the backups to this team. Others are:
GK Harrington, DC Garcia, AML Rose, MC Tapia, ST Roth, DR Jackson, ST Pace.
-- The giant Youth Intake occurs, and we'll be looking to see if any of them can crack the roster. This will actually give us the problem of having too many players for the first time, so we'll need to go through this carefully and will probably cut some guys. Most will be names you've only seen in roster reviews.
I haven't requested it. This league I'm moving into is 100% amateur teams. The next level up is when we'll start to see semi-pro teams I think. I'm not planning on asking the board to become semi-pro until I move up one more level. If they tell me I should start paying guys because we have so much money I will. I have no idea what to expect though.
-- I ask the board for more coaches, I'd really like a goalkeeping coach or a fitness coach, I'm not sure I could get one to come here, in tier 8 I couldn't. But the board isn't interested in allowing any more coaches of any kind, so that's it for that idea for now.
16 new players join the team as youth players. I'm keeping a bunch of them, but only two seem worth writing about.
Colin Cole - ST/AMC/MC - Crossing 5/Dribbling 7/Finishing 8/Heading 6. Flair 11/Off Ball 8/Work Rate 9. Pace 7. With a Bravery of 17, my coach says he's best as a target man. This guy looks good.
Adam Fisher - AMR/ST/MR - Pace 8/Accel 11/Agi 8/Balance 10. Crossing 6/Dribble 3/Technique 4. Decision 3/Flair 6/Off Ball 6. I'm comparing him to Ryan Crook, Crook is way better dribbling and first touch, much more determined. Fisher is faster and has great teamwork and work rate. We'll see. Crook was bad last year so I'm willing to give someone a chance to take the backup job.
Arturo Flores - DL - Some pace, 10 pace/7 accel, good overall fitness. Marking 7/Tackling 6/Positioning 5... really he doesn't look great, but worth mentioning b/c last year's DL youth pull Florian Bergmann got on the field for awhile and was godawful, way worse than my other youth pulls that saw some time. So I'm cutting Bergmann, and will play Flores if Campbell/Coggins get hurt.
The rest have one or two decent attribute but would have to show me they play better than I expect them to based on ratings to ever see the field on the senior team. If that happens we can talk about them then.
Pre-season Team Meeting
My only options are "how do you guys feel?", "we can actually finish top half!" and "we can challenge for promotion!" ... my actual goals are to avoid relegation. Is that the same as a "mid-table finish"? 20 team league, 4 teams relegate. 15th would be just fine with me.
-- DC Galvis says we're on track to do well and meet the mid-table expectations. DC Pickering says he thinks we should aim higher.
-- I respond and say my expectations are what they are, not raising them. I get 8 good and 8 bad reactions from that.
-- ST Roth comes back and says he thinks "mid-table" is too high. I tell him I'm disappointed with that reaction, and most of the team is unhappy with that.
I suck at these things.
Pre-Season Coaches Meeting
-- My coaches keep recommending salaried players to me. Come on guys. We're an amateur team.
-- My head of youth development tells me that MC Mike Wilkins and ST/AML Ben Goodwin are the most exciting U18 players we have. Wilkins will probably get some playing time, especially if I'm not able to sign any new guys. Goodwin probably deserves a chance but I have way too many strikers unless i'm switching to a 4-4-2.
Speaking of that, I haven't used a 5-4-1 a single time since I got here. So I do go ahead and make our 3rd formation to train a 4-4-2 instead of 5-4-1. In my first season we had almost no strikers so a 1 striker formation was almost mandatory. A switch to a straight 4-4-2 would be real hard since our best players are wingers who don't do well at ML/MR. But we should at least know the formation.
Atlantic Coast Amateur League
So lets set this up. There are 20 teams in the league. The majority of them are in Florida or Puerto Rico, so the team will be logging a lot more miles this year than last. Because there are more teams here, the season starts earlier. Also, we don't participate in the group stage of the North American Open Cup. So there are a couple early round cup matches and then straight into league play.
With 20 teams, there is a proper split at the halfway mark. So after we play everyone once, the top 10 break off into their own group, as do the bottom 10. 1st place Auto Promotes. 2nd-5th have a playoff to decide a second promotion spot.
In the bottom split, four teams relegate back down.
We will continue to play in the Old North Cup, and our first match will be February 17th.
We will now play in the Atlantic Coast Cup, which looks to be a small regional tournament. 56 teams in a qualifying round, then 32 teams in round 1. It looks like this is scheduled to start March 16th.
Later on, during the season we will also play in the North American Open Cup and the [/u]North America Amateur Cup[/u].
Our first league match is scheduled for March 18th, we'll be travelling to Puerto Rico to play Atleticos Rio Piedras.
-- I set up our fitness training to start getting the guys ready.
-- I also set up all our pre-sesaon friendlies.
-- With that, we need to review our roster and figure out a depth chart. This actually matters a little more this year, with a couple years of youth intake we have like 59 guys on the roster, when only 45 can be registered for competition. We'll also have to make sure we have guys in the reserves and U18's actually getting playing time.
Nice work on the promotion! I wonder if the million is what's needed to financially move to semi-pro status
Depth Chart - Goalkeepers
1. Amidu Gyan - 28 y/o - 6.75 average rating as my starter the last two years. His reflexes are not great, but he is better than every other keeper we have in every other attribute.
2. Clark Garcia - 18 y/o - Has only played one match for me. If I could develop players he'd be able to develop into something better tha Gyan. But I can't do that.
3. Kenny Curfman - 14 y/o - Better than Garcia in some attributes, worse in others. But clearly better than our #4.
4. James Barton - 18 y/o - Dead weight. We did have two GK's hurt last year for a short while. Might as well carry four.
Gyan clearly starts, if he were to get hurt it would be a complete tossup between Garcia and Curfman.
Market Prospects - None currently. I could *maybe* upgrade my backup. All players my scout likes are age 18 and under. Kids with better reflexes than Gyan but not much else.
Defenders - Left Side
1. David Campbell - 23 y/o - 6.79 avg rating in 27 matches. Weak technically, but faster than my other options.
2. Danny Coggins - 26 y/o - 6.68 avg rating in 12 matches. Was hurt almost all of last year.
3. Sean Rongen - 18 y/o - I need to play Rongen some this year. My assistant rates him as my best at this position, and his attributes are decent. I've never given him a chance.
4. Arturo Flores - 14 y/o - A youth pull. My assistant actually likes him too. Possibly being judged differently than Rongen/Coggins due to age?
Campbell has been solid enough here for me. Rongen will get his chance this year, I promise!
Market Prospects - I make an offer to a DL from Fayeteville that my scout likes. He doesn't necessarily look better than Coggins on paper, but I want to get in on the action, and Fayeteville is a division opponent who has offered contracts to lots of my players.
Defenders - Right Side
1. Joe Jackson - 28 y/o - 6.78 rating in 17 games.
2. Bob Varela - 18 y/o - 6.75 rating in 11 games.
3. Fausto Diaz - 15 y/o - 6.47 rating in 4 games.
Jackson and Varela look real similar. Its easy to rotate them basically. Diaz was a youth pull, worst positioning and worst physical ability of the bunch.
Market Prospects - Some ok looking guys are out there, but I don't have any reason to think any of them would be better than Jackson and Varela, and both have played well enough for me.
Defenders - Central
1. Joe Pickering - 17 y/o - 6.83 rating in 30 league games, 4 goals.
2. Steve Forrest - 23 y/o - 6.81 rating in 8 league matches. Also showed he can play in higher leagues, 6.8 rating in the tier above us two years ago.
3. Don Burke - 26 y/o - 6.77 rating in 17 matches.
4. Hernando Galvis - 26 y/o - 6.64 in 15 matches.
5. Ashley Varela - 15 y/o - 6.53 in 6 matches.
6. Jesus Antonio Guerrero - 15 y/o - Hurt last year and didn't play, but tall which I've liked.
Youth Pulls Scott Kelly and John Johnson are here too. Kelly, Johnson and Varela... none of them look great. I may or may not sign them. For now, I put the top 4 guys on the senior team, Varela/Guerrero on the Reserves, and the youth guys on the U18 team.
So I'm happy with my top 3 guys, the 4th is older and a good leader, after that its a ton of unproven guys who may not ever get a real chance to prove themselves. Varela did play last year and failed to impress.
Market Prospects - There are a lot of DC's availble, but a common problem I'm seeing is that none of them strike me as guys I really want and would cut a young kid for clearly. Many of them have gotten significant playing time for other teams at my level and have not done well.
1. Brian Williams - 18 y/o - 6.80 in 11 league matches. Williams has always been my best on paper, but have never stood out really. Hurt a lot last year.
2. Timothy Pena - - 6.79 rating in 14 matches. I never liked Pena but he does have high determination and he's performed ok.
3. Adalberto Vega - 15 y/o - 6.86 rating in 8 matches. Was a youth pull last year, played very well when asked to. Mostly off the bench. Physically/Technically ok, very low bravery and teamwork, both needed for the ball winning midfielder I like to use at DMC.
4. Alan Bartlett - 14 y/o - Youth pull, technically he's fine, bravery of 2, elsewhere he mostly holds up though. Curious to see how he does on the U18's.
I signed Luis Villa last year to replace Pena. He played 16 matches with a 6.69 average rating. The prior year for the NC Fusion he played 27 matches with a 6.29 rating in the ACPL (that's Atlantic Coast Premier League, where I am now). I'm just accpeting at this point that Tim Pena is an acceptable backup. I cut Villa.
Market Prospects - None at this time.
1. Mark Shakespeare - 18 y/o - Team MVP last year.
2. Jose Alejandro Tapia - 25 y/o - Very consistent performer in the more defensive of MC roles. 6.8 rating in 32 matches.
3. Gary Glaser - 19 y/o - 6.84 rating in 20 matches. Doesn't stand out, but seems to hold his own. Ratings are poor compared to some guys below, so others may get a chance to prove themselves.
4. Bayard Perkins - 26 y/o - 6.77 rating in 22 matches. Ratings not special but has proven acceptable off the bench.
5. Ashley Sandoval - 18 y/o - 6.83 rating in 17 matches. Sandoval's ratings continue to look like the worst here. If Wilkins or Castro can play will get cut.
6. Mike Wilkins - 14 y/o - Only played two matches off the bench last year, scored in one. Ratings look very solid for a young kid and probably deserves more time than he got.
7. Eder Castro - 14 y/o - 10 pace, 12 first touch and 6 passing and 6 positioning gives him a chance. He has some 1's and 2's in the ratings though that make me think its very unlikely he'll succeed here. Expect to never hear his name again.
Shakespeare/Tapia have starting spots locked in. Glaser will see a ton of time. The other four will sort themselves out.
Market Prospects - Lots of players, none that strike me as guys that look good enough to take away chances from guys I've already got.
Attacking Midfielder - Left Side
1. Brian Davidson - 21 y/o - Rose looks better but Davidson has delivered for 2 years now. 7.04 rating in 27 league matches.
2. Dylan Rose - 18 y/o - 6.94 rating in 18 matches. Hurt with a bit of frequency.
There really isn't a lot more to talk about here. I still have a backup in Luca Colangelo, and last year's youth pull in Jeff Gallardo. Neither will ever get a start over a healthy and fit Davidson and Rose.
Market Prospects - Not really.
Attacking Midfielder - Right Side
1. Ian Cooper - 18 y/o - 6.92 rating in 27 league matches. Others get a bit higher ratings but Cooper may still be my best player overall.
2. Adam Fisher - 14 y/o - I mentioned Fisher when I reviewed youth pulls. My backup AMR, Ryan Crook, did not perform last year at all. Fisher looks solid enough, and is going to be given some playing time up front to see what he can do.
3. Ryan Crook - 26 y/o - 6.65 rating in 19 matches. 6 starts last year without a goal or assist in league play, 4 more in cup play.
Market Prospects - There is one Blacksburg player who put up decent ratings for them last year, a 14 year old with decent'ish ratings. I go ahead and make an offer and can just stick him in the U18's if Fisher works out or Crook plays better.
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